Washington DC

‘Gonna Miss You': Wendy's Closing in ‘Dave Thomas Circle' Has Fans Near Tears

Wendy's corporate headquarters embraced the Dave Thomas Circle name and said the location was "one of the most special and recognizable restaurants in our portfolio"

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It’s a frosty goodbye. Monday was the last full day of operation for the Wendy’s at the center of Northeast D.C.'s notoriously confusing "Dave Thomas Circle."

The fast-food restaurant is expected to close for good Tuesday before the intersection undergoes a makeover, following an eminent domain fight with the city.

D.C. took the Wendy's property through eminent domain so the city could change the tangled and confusing intersection to something more simple.

Commuters know the traffic troubles of the current setup all too well.

"The traffic is so bad. I’ve seen a car run through the Wendy’s... into the restaurant," D.C. resident Charles Smith said.

Customers lined up from the front of the counter all the way to the back on Monday to order their Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets and Frostys.

“We had to get our last chicken nuggets and spicy chicken sandwich," one man told News4.

Regular customer Monica House teared up as she told News4 about her love for the location.

wendys dave thomas circle
Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Cars drive around the Wendy's restaurant in the center of “Dave Thomas Circle” in this aerial photograph taken on Nov. 4, 2019.
The notorious Dave Thomas Circle in Northeast Washington is going away. The traffic chokepoint at the intersections of New York and Florida avenues will lose its signature Wendy’s restaurant that sits right in the middle and become something much different. Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss has the details.

"I’m gonna miss these guys!” she said. “Thank you. We're gonna miss you — and I’m not gonna cry."

D.C. leaders and Wendy’s are still negotiating a final price tag to take the land,
but it’s estimated to be about $13 million.

"This has been, in our view, a long time coming. We made it clear that we need the land,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said of the eminent domain process.

Wendy’s corporate headquarters said in a statement Sunday night that Wendy’s was “forced” to close the restaurant and legal proceedings are ongoing. They embraced the Dave Thomas Circle name and said the location is "one of the most special and recognizable restaurants in our portfolio."

Here’s their full statement: 

"The Wendy’s restaurant at Dave Thomas Circle has been a beloved part of the brand and has served members of the community and commuters for decades. The name “Dave Thomas Circle” is synonymous with Wendy’s and honors our founder, making it one of the most special and recognizable restaurants in our portfolio and a highly valuable asset of The Wendy’s Company.  

Wendy’s has been forced to close the restaurant and surrender possession to the District of Columbia by the end of September so the District can begin their planned project. The Company and our franchisee are still working through the Court process to ensure that we are compensated appropriately for the restaurant relocation, and for our lost name and business association between the Dave Thomas Circle and the Wendy’s brand."

There is talk of relocating the Wendy’s, but no details have been finalized.

News4 said goodbye with a four-Frosty send-off.

The closure of the Wendy’s was especially bittersweet for one local couple: They shared their first kiss more than two decades ago in the drive-thru lane. Go here for the full story.

A D.C. couple that just celebrated their 20th anniversary shared their first kiss in the drive-thru lane of the Wendy's closing on Tuesday. News4's Juliana Valencia has the sweet story.
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